M. Ghazanfar Ali Khan • Arab News Staff
Saturday 26 July 2003
Last Update 26 July 2003 12:00 am
RIYADH, 26 July 2003 — The Arabian Genet, a shy nocturnal animal surviving in southeastern parts of Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Oman, is assisting pediatric research at a German university, according to a report released by the Riyadh-based National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development (NCWCD). Urine and blood samples from the locally-bred Genets have been handed over to the scientists.
“The research will help to cure metabolic human diseases, which are known to cause severe convulsions and death in new-born babies,” said the report. It also said the research will help children lacking certain metabolic enzymes, which result in neurological damage and accumulation of large amounts of waste products in the body.
“This country can boast of having some 2,250 identified species of plants besides a number of bird species forming part of its wildlife.” In a study, the NCWCD ringed 1,375 rare birds belonging to 45 species in Saudi Arabia. Marine animals are also contributing to research. The Textile Cone Shell, common on reefs in the Red Sea, kills with a deadly toxin. Scientists are using the toxin to produce a pain killer ten times as effective as morphine and with zero side effects.
The report added that the Arabian Plant Specialist Group, set up on the Kingdom’s initiative, has been given the task to set up a database with detailed information about the plant species in the region. Its aim, with the assistance of the private sector, is to facilitate conservation efforts.